FAQs

Recent Updates to the Dashboards

Update 9/30/2020

On 9/28 and 9/29, the dataset being pulled into the dashboards had some geographic inaccuracies that have now been resolved as of 9/30. Specifically, data prior to early-August was coded by county instead of by jurisdiction. As a result, cumulative cases, tests, and deaths for Kansas City and surrounding counties (Jackson, Platte, Clay, Cass), and for Joplin and surrounding counties (Jasper, Newton) were inaccurate. For example, a case from April that should have been coded to Kansas City was being coded to Jackson County. It is now being properly coded to Kansas City. Data since August was not affected. 

General performance improvements to make dashboards quicker. Mobile optimizations are coming soon. 


Overall Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are these Dashboards?

A: These Dashboards provide a statewide view of the current status of COVID-19 in Missouri. The purpose is to provide a standardized and accessible source of critical public health data to help individuals, families, businesses, nonprofits, schools, public health authorities, health care providers, and community leaders remain up to date and make informed decisions regarding COVID-19.

Q: What data are used to generate these Dashboards?

A: The primary source of public health data feeding these dashboards are 1) daily COVID-19 testing data provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and 2) daily hospitalization data as reported nationally by the federal government via TeleTracking (note: hospitalization data up to July 13, 2020, comes from NHSN). Additionally, national state-by-state COVID-19 case and testing data from The New York Times and  https://www.tableau.com/covid-19-coronavirus-data-resources are used to calculate national state rankings.

Q: Why are the numbers on this Dashboard different from the ones I see from other national or local sources?

A: Differences among local, state, and national data can exist for metrics for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, reporting timing, method of calculation, and data source. See the methodology used for each metric below. 

Q: How is this Dashboard different from the one on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) website?

A: This Dashboard is an expansion of the original DHSS Dashboard. It includes many additional metrics and views to provide more data to residents, local public health authorities, businesses, and community leaders. This Dashboard will replace the original DHSS Dashboard, but that team remains on hand to answer your questions and strive to improve this Dashboard over time.

Q: What does it mean if my jurisdiction is “yellow” or “red” for a particular metric?

A: On the Statewide and County Dashboards, colors indicate thresholds for each eight metrics to provide a sense of severity as defined by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. More detail behind each metric is provided below, under the “Statewide and County Overview Dashboards” section. All metrics and colors should be taken into context—including, but not limited to, local conditions (e.g., if an outbreak in one facility were to represent a significant share of new cases) and other metrics (e.g., the percent change in tests metric should be taken in the context of the total tests per 100,000 population metric). These color thresholds do not prescribe a certain course of action but rather aim to provide a view of intensity for each metric that can be standardized statewide and across jurisdictions. Any state and local actions considering these metrics should take other local public health and social conditions into context.

Q: Why are Kansas City and Joplin listed separately from their respective counties?

A: COVID-19 tests, cases, and deaths data are usually tracked at the county level. However, the municipalities of Kansas City and Joplin have their own local public health authorities and thus track and report their tests, cases, and deaths separately. As a result, for “per 100k” calculations, adjustments have been made to the populations of Jackson, Platte, Clay, and Cass Counties to subtract Kansas City residents from their respective populations. The same has been done for Jasper and Newton Counties to account for Joplin residents. Note that case data and population within Independence, MO, are included in the figures for Jackson County. 

Q: What if I have additional questions about the dashboard?

A: We hope this documentation provides the answers you need. If you have further questions,  send us an email.

Statewide and County Overview Dashboards

General metrics

3-day delay. All cumulative data are provided up to the most recent day of reporting. Time-based data such as 7-day averages, however, are subject to a 3-day delay to ensure that the data are accurate and complete. (Example, on 5/15 the dashboard will report 7-day averages for a 7-day period ending on 5/12). These data are provisional and may change daily. Investigations are being done on new cases, so as additional information is determined on these cases, information such as county, demographics, and the total counts will continue to change. Efforts are continually being made to improve data quality so that DHSS is providing the most accurate information possible. 

Cases by Jurisdiction of Residence. The total number of laboratory-confirmed cases (individuals) by residence jurisdiction (county or city, when available). This number includes only individuals with positive PCR test results.

Lab-Confirmed Cases. The cumulative total number of cases that have been identified through PCR testing by state and private laboratories and reported to the state of Missouri, to-date. Most cases will recover from their illness, but this will not change the cumulative total. Serology tests are not included in the total number of Missouri cases, since they are considered to indicate possible past infection, and are not currently considered to be confirmed cases.

Deaths Attributed to COVID-19. The cumulative total of deaths that have been attributed to COVID-19. A death attributed to COVID-19 includes individuals who were identified as a positive COVID-19 case who died as a result of this illness or from a death certificate where COVID-19 was listed as a underlying or contributing cause of death. 

Timing

7-Day Percent Positive of PCR Tested Individuals. Numerator: The number of patients with an initial positive laboratory PCR test result for COVID-19 within the last 7 days. Denominator. The number of patients who had an initial PCR COVID-19 test within the last 7 days. Note that the 7-day day range used to calculate this metric is subject to the standard 3-day data delay to help ensure accuracy. 

Thresholds and colors

White House Coronavirus Task Force metrics and thresholds. The Statewide and County Overview Dashboards include eight metrics that are also tracked by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The Task Force uses a five-color system to assess the severity of each metric. The thresholds for each metric are presented in the screenshot below. See the below note for more information about how to use these colors, and why some jurisdictions have no colors.

Thresholds for each metric

What these colors mean and how they can be used: These colors indicate thresholds for each metric. All metrics and colors should be taken into context—including, but not limited to, local conditions (e.g., if an outbreak in one facility were to represent a significant share of new cases) and other metrics (e.g., the percent change in tests metric should be taken in the context of the total tests per 100,000 population metric). These color thresholds do not prescribe a certain course of action but rather aim to provide a view of intensity for each metric that can be standardized statewide and across jurisdictions. Any state and local actions considering these metrics should take other local public health and social conditions into context.

Jurisdictions with few new cases: For jurisdictions with fewer than 20 new cases in the most recent 14-day period, no “threshold colors” are shown to account for a higher margin of error.

Population and geography

Populations and per 100,000 resident metrics. The statewide population and all county populations used in “per 100K” metrics are based on 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates.

Kansas City and Joplin populations. As noted in the FAQ, COVID-19 tests, cases, and deaths data are usually tracked at the county level. However, the municipalities of Kansas City and Joplin have their own local public health authorities and thus track and report their tests, cases, and deaths separately. As a result, for “per 100k” calculations, adjustments have been made to the populations of Jackson, Platte, Clay, and Cass Counties to subtract Kansas City residents from their respective populations. The same has been done for Jasper and Newton Counties to account for Joplin residents. Note that case data and population within Independence, MO, are included in the figures for Jackson County. 

Residence. The county or jurisdiction where an individual lives. This may not be the same county where an individual works, contracts COVID-19, is tested, or (if applicable) is hospitalized.


School District Dashboard

Overview

Developed through a partnership with the Missouri School Boards Association, this Dashboard is designed to assist elementary and secondary school boards and administrators in evaluating factors that may influence the success of in-person, hybrid and distance learning models. The data are designed to provide an overview of the current impact of COVID-19 for the general and school-aged populations within every unified and elementary public school district in Missouri.

Cases

These numbers reflect the total number of cases in in school-aged children in the community in the geographic area each school district occupies. Data include all residents in these age groups and therefore include students in non-public schools. A case denotes an individual with a positive PCR test. It is not currently possible to assign cases to specific schools due to limitations in testing reporting data.

School district boundaries

Testing data when correctly reported include a person’s zip code and address, among other fields. These fields are used to estimate the school district geographic area in which that individual lives. Because of gaps and errors in testing reporting data, these numbers should be considered an estimate.

Geocoding

Cases are geocoded to each school district’s geographic area as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 TIGER/Line Shapefiles.

Demographics

Race and Ethnicity

The reported race and ethnicity of laboratory-confirmed cases. Note that a sizeable share of cases are reported without a race or ethnicity classified other than “Unknown.” DHSS continues to work with healthcare providers and labs to gather greater completeness of demographic information. 

Reported Age

Laboratory-confirmed cases by the age of the patient. A small number of patients do not have an age available for analysis at the time the data is published. For this reason, Cases by Age may not sum to the total number of cases reported.

Health Care System

Number of Hospitalizations

The number of individuals reported as hospitalized confirmed or presumed to have COVID-19 on the listed date. Individuals hospitalized for more than one day may be included in the count on multiple dates. This dashboard provides hospitalization numbers obtained through the TeleTracking system. Not every hospital in Missouri reports to TeleTracking every day.

Testing

PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Test

A PCR test looks for the viral genetic material (RNA) in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive COVID-19 PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.

Serology Test

A Serology test looks for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the patient’s blood to determine if there has been an infection in the past. Antibodies are formed by the body to fight off infections. A positive antibody test means that the person was infected with COVID-19 in the past or recently and that their immune system developed antibodies to try to fight it off.

Antigen Test

(Not the same as an “antibody” test.) An Antigen test is for rapid detection of the virus that causes COVID-19. The test determines if a sample contains proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus, which allows much faster results. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as PCR tests, therefore negative antigen test results may need to be confirmed with a PCR test prior to making treatment decisions if the patient has concerning symptoms or potential exposures to COVID-19. Antigen tests are most commonly used for patients who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, therefore the percent positive rates are likely to be higher.

Percent positive

Numerator. The number of patients with positive laboratory PCR test results for COVID-19. Denominator. The number of patients who had a PCR COVID-19 test.

7-Day Percent Positive of PCR-Tested Individuals

Numerator. The number of patients with an initial positive laboratory PCR test result for COVID-19 within the last 7 days. Denominator. The number of patients who had an initial PCR COVID-19 test within the last 7 days.